A compelling examination of marital infidelity, this skillfully crafted book by psychologist D. Charles Williams not only boldly identifies the problem’s many aspects, but offers a program for recovery. The types of unfaithfulness that can afflict a relationship are encompassed in five main categories: Impulse (one-night stands, retaliation); Proximity (workplace, close friend, covetousness); Avoidance (refusal to discuss the danger signs with a spouse); Addiction (cyber porn, serial or habitual infidelities that begin before marriage); Stage-of-Life (empty nest syndrome, encountering an old flame). The author leads us through a multitude of action steps for remediation that start with the discovery and recognition of and reaction to events, following on to the willingness to take responsibility, apologize, experience—and sometimes re-experience—remorse. Then rebuilding can take place. Williams offer fifty exercises related to these processes. They include such practical self-examination instruments as the Marital Boundaries Quiz—what to do if you tend to flirt, you have a close opposite-sex friend, you wear revealing clothing (female) or sneak peeks (male). There are checklists for everything from “drifting apart” to “rituals of affection.” Williams firmly believes that spouses have to work on their relationship from the very beginning and maintain a “no secrets” policy.
Williams has created a useful, indeed groundbreaking manual. His principles are based in a moral overview that includes spiritual tenets without being specifically religious. The organization of the book is thorough, with exercises, checklists and a bibliography underpinning the theories and case studies. The author clearly possesses a zeal for the subject that has led him to construct this accessible, practical guide. What’s Done in the Dark should be required reading for those in couples therapies and would be an excellent study guide for anyone focused on understanding and healing broken relationships.
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